According to a report, Seattle Mariners manager Scott Servais wants first baseman Dae-Ho Lee back in 2017, but would it represent a smart move?
The Seattle Mariners‘ season might be over but the wheels never stop turning, as they look towards next week. The organization is headed in the right direction, but still has work to do, before finally nailing that postseason spot which has alluded them since 2001.
This work includes finding ways to improve the roster, while retaining the chemistry which saw the Mariners return to contender status in 2016. In that respect, the latest speculation coming out of Seattle indicates a strong desire to bring back Dae-Ho Lee.
Bob Dutton of The News Tribune has reported that Lee spoke to reporters at Incheon International Airport in Korea. As per The Korea Times, he said: “My manager (Scott Servais) told me he’d like to have me for next year, but this isn’t the time to talk about my contract status.”
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In truth, this news shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, given that general manager Jerry Dipoto recently admitted he wants the 34-year to return in 2017. The question is, would this represent a smart move by the Mariners?
Certainly, Lee had his moments during the 2016 campaign, finishing the year hitting .253/.312/.428, with 14 homers and 49 RBIs, while being competent enough with his glovework. However, the drop in his productivity during the second half of the year was noticeable.
So why do the Mariners want the fan favorite back? Dipoto explained one of the main reasons, comes down to the lack of quality right-handed platoon bats available on the open market.
However, this does not mean Lee is in any hurry to make a decision. While he has expressed an interest in return to the Majors, he is wary of once again taking on a part-time role.
The Busan, South Korea native said: “Playing time is an important factor to consider when choosing a team…Early on, it was fun to come off the bench to pinch hit, but it started to hurt my pride later.”
Despite Lee’s frustrations, it is important to note this was in no way a shot at Servais: “I wanted to play more, but it’s entirely up to the manager how he runs the team.
“I have no hard feelings for manager Servais. If anything, I should have played better and tried harder.”
Regardless, the two-time Japan Series Champion has a lot to think about, which should include significant interest from back home. Lee officially becomes a free agent after the conclusion of the World Series on Wednesday.
What’s your take in respect of Dae-Ho Lee? Would you like to see him back in Seattle, or should the Mariners move on from the congenial first baseman? Let us know in the comments section below.